The results of a Design Sprint will depend on the main factors: upstream preparations and clarification of objectives, the team and its motivation to respond to issues, time management and therefore the pace given by the facilitator (Sprint Master).

What is a design sprint? A 4-5 days innovation process — Quop
A design sprint, or Design Sprint, is a workshop format that can be carried out in physics or remotely, enabling original solutions to a given problem to be found in 4 to 5 days and with a limited number of people.

At the beginning and end of a Design Sprint, Quop offers a half-day preparation session with the decision-maker and the expert(s), followed by a summary presentation of the results of the Design Sprint. This makes it possible to specify whether or not to send the solution that responds to the initial problem for development.

Clarify the objectives

The first half-day before a Design Sprint is devoted to studying the needs and problems of the decision-maker and the expert(s). This involves spending some time together to describe the context and scope of the Design Sprint, why it is necessary, the objectives and, of course, the expected results. There will also be an explanation of all the possible exercises and whether they need to be adapted to meet the initial need.

Usually, this clarification of the context becomes a presentation to the teams on the first day. It contains essential points to align the different people present during the design sprint:

  • People present and their positions;
  • Context, issues;
  • Targets/Audience;
  • Objectives;
  • Planning (List of exercises and time per exercise);
  • Expected results.

The facilitator's challenge (Sprint Master)

The facilitator or Sprint Master faces several challenges during the Design Sprint week.

The challenges are different when a Design Sprint is carried out physically or remotely.

Challenges with a Design Sprint in physics

The advantage of a Design Sprint in physics and meeting people in a meeting room. The commitment of the latter at the start is much stronger than with distance. Everyone is asked to come without a telephone and, when the exercises make it possible, without a computer. Concentration is maximised and synergies are more evident.

Depending on the team, the possibilities for digression are also greater and it is up to the facilitator to refocus all the teams as soon as possible to keep them focused on the initial objective and the steps in progress.

Challenges with a Remote Sprint Design

Remote Sprint Design, like all distance working, suffers from a lack of popularity: the habit of physical meetings remains entrenched as the norm. The commitment of those present may be at a lower level than in a physics meeting. Distractions are also much more present: working at a distance sometimes means working at home, in an environment that is less conducive to concentration and, above all, people can have access to their telephones and the Internet whenever they wish. It's enough to lose track of a Design Sprint and it takes several minutes to re-focus after a distraction.

Nevertheless, in our latest Design Sprint, when people remain focused and active, remote Design Sprint can lead to a higher engagement and less fatigue than a physical Design Sprint. It is the duty of the facilitator (Sprint Master) to find ways to keep the participants focused for as long as possible and it is the duty of the participants to follow the instructions as much as possible to avoid distractions.

💡 PRO TIPS

Since the remote working trend, instructions for respect and collaboration have become more widespread, for example: mute the microphone when someone speaks, active the webcam, encourage breaks and more informal discussions. This also applies to the Design Sprints!

Commit everyone in a design sprint

By dint of performing Design Sprints, we have seen different types of profiles whose intrinsic motivations for being there are sometimes questioned, either by a lack of confidence, or by shyness, or by a lack of time or will and a fear of reduced productivity during the 4 to 5 days of workshops.

Everyone's commitment to a Design Sprint depends on the synergies between people and the facilitator's ability to break the ice when necessary. From the very beginning of a Design Sprint, the facilitator detects whether the synergies will take time to be created and if so, it is possible to adapt one or two exercises just before the Design Sprint to relax the atmosphere.

If people are present at this Design Sprint, it is because they have every right to participate and generate solutions in a collaborative way. For those who are shy, ice-breaking exercises and informal exchanges before the start can promote synergies.

For people who are afraid of suffering from a lack of time or reduced productivity for the time spent on the exercises, it is possible to regularly repeat the different expected results and the possibilities that a Design Sprint offers in the innovation and design of a product or the addition of functionalities.

The facilitator has a very important role in engaging the participants as he or she must prove the effectiveness of the exercises in real time, create synergies in a friendly atmosphere, ensure that everyone is concentrated and refocus the entire sprint when necessary.

What are the expected results? Is a Design Sprint enough?

At the end of the Design Sprint week, you will leave with :

  • A backlog of ideas to explore and test;
  • The prototype of a precise and detailed idea that has won the majority of votes;
  • User test results on that idea;
  • A report of the whole week and the tests.

Most of the time, if the context of the Design Sprint and the objectives have been properly clarified beforehand, a Design Sprint is sufficient. Sometimes, the Design Sprint may give negative results, i.e. the user tests prove that the idea voted by all the participants does not give the expected results. In this case, the development of this innovation or functionality should obviously not be launched and it is then recommended to prepare a Design Sprint to address the issues raised at the beginning.

Failure of user tests does not mean failure of the Design Sprint. The Design Sprint verifies the viability of an idea or functionality before launching any development. This avoids commercial failures and provides you with new ideas and alternatives to test!

With clear objectives, a great facilitator and a committed team, the results of a Design Sprint are far more profitable than a one-sided idea generation. The method makes possible to generate dozens of solutions in record time, while testing one of them to verify its viability with the users of your product or service.